Passalacqua is a private villa turned hyper-luxe hotel on the shores of Northern Italy’s postcard-pretty Lake Como.
There’s a reason why Napoleon Bonaparte, Bellini, and Winston Churchill spent nights here. Its immaculate views, opulent décor, and “above par” service are just a fraction of what makes this place so alluring. Built on land originally owned by Pope Innocent XI, Villa Passalacqua was constructed in the 18th Century by Count Andrea Lucini Passalacqua, who worked with architect Felice Soave and designer Giocondo Albertolli to bring his vision of making one of the largest and most spectacular villas on Lake Como come to life.
The family-owned five-star hotel has quickly risen in stature since its opening last year — it feels boutique to its core, just how we like it here at HAP.
You immediately feel like this place is a slice of heaven, with its entrance gardens: trees planted centuries ago, manicured topiary, sprouting roses, plus blissful fountains populate the premises, and at most vantage points, peer out at the lake. Parasols and green lounge chairs ensconce the outdoor pool here. Lakeside tennis courts sit between the uphill main villa and the water, making any match here exceedingly scenic.
The ground floor lobby hosts check-in, an intimate bar, a book-abundant library, a walk-in kitchen, and two artfully frescoed dining rooms. Traditional decor is the name of the game here. Impressionist paintings, glistening chandeliers, and elegant rugs run aplenty. With no expenses spared, 20 different types of high-quality marble pack the hotel. You will also find Fortuny lampshades; Murano candelabras, sconces, and mirrors; silk curtains; and a medley of antiques sourced by the family at the hotel’s helm.
Suites suffuse the uphill main historic villa, lakeside Casa del Lago, and the Palazz (the last one was converted from horse stables to top-line accommodations). Each room looks different from the previous, individually boasting unique frescoes, ornately framed photos & portraits, and varied paint colors ranging from champagne-like to subtle blues. Rooms flaunt an eclectic collection of coffee table books, injecting a modern touch into a traditional look.
You will also be privy to an open-air gym, a grand spa equipping a Turkish bath & sauna solely accessible via a secret staircase and a centuries-old tunnel, yoga classes, as well as a cinema that projects movies under the stars.
Location: Moltrasio, Italy (Lake Como)
The Vibe: Italian elegance and luxe villa living on one of Europe’s most mesmerizing lakes.
Amenities: Outdoor swimming pool, spa, free-Wi-Fi, restaurant, bar, fitness center, tea/coffee maker in all rooms, and free parking.
Food + Drink: While there is an official restaurant and correlating seating area allocated to it, staff can arrange meals wherever guests choose. Bar-wise, the main villa hosts a gathering spot with tables inside and out. Separate from this, there’s a pool bar & pavilion with furnishings designed in collaboration with fashion brand La Double J.
Any neighborhood recs? Yes, you should explore Lake Como and the many villages encircling it — our favorite one is Bellagio (seriously, this place looks out of a movie; it’s that perfect). Supplementary to this, we advise taking a ferry to Tremezzo, where you’ll find the dreamy Villa Carlotta, a sloped botanical garden with glorious lake views.
What’s nearby? Parco di Villa Passalacqua, Giardini a Lago, Parco di Villa Zita, Volta Temple, Silk museum, Baradello Castle
Rooms: 24 rooms, including nine suites
Pricing: Double rooms from €1,500 (approx. $1,637)
Closest airport: Milan’s Malpensa is 40 minutes away, while the city’s Linante airport is 50 minutes by car. The former is where you will most likely fly into if you’re coming from the USA.
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